New Australian taskforce targeting offshore fugitives

Australia’s national law enforcement agency announced on Tuesday that it has established a taskforce to pursue offshore fugitives.

Reece Kershaw, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner, said that the Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST) has a list of 43 accused murderers, fraudsters, drug traffickers and money launderers who fled the country while wanted for their alleged crimes.

The team of specialist investigators and intelligence analysts, which was established in February, is also targeting suspected offenders who have fled to Australia from other countries, reports Xinhua news agency.

“A number of serious criminals have fled Australia and believe they are no longer within the reach of the AFP,” Kershaw said.

“However, they are mistaken.”

He said that AFP personnel were posted in 33 countries.

“We will be working closely with our international, Commonwealth and state and territory partners – leveraging the specialist capabilities, intelligence and operations of the AFP and our partners – to hunt down these serious criminals who are hiding here in Australia and those suspected Australian criminals who have fled offshore.”

Kershaw added that the taskforce would make it easier for Australia’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies to work together to find high-value targets who pose an ongoing risk.

“My message to offenders who have fled Australia, or are offshore and targeting Australians, is clear: You are within our reach and the AFP will be relentless in bringing you to justice.”